Monday, April 14, 2014

{not a} suit, part II

tee by Lim Heng Swee, Gap
skirt, Calvin Klein Outlet
White House Black Market blazer, Goodwill
belt, J. Crew Factory 

    Some Mondays call for an obnoxiously pink belt - and a tee that mixes typewriters and chemistry. I haven't worn my pencil skirt for a while, so it was a refreshing change from jeans. I thought the graphic tee and pink belt added a playful touch.
    As of today, there are exactly 34 more days of school ... not that anyone around here is counting. ;) While I'm still focused on what I can do for my students as they near the end of fourth grade, I confess that my thoughts have turned to next year - I've found myself reflecting a lot on successes and, on the flip side, the routines, procedures, and instructional approaches that need rethinking and revising. It will be a mad rush from about now until the end of May - we've got May Day practices, state testing, a social studies project, and much more to accomplish.

   I know it's hard to tell, but {not a} is a *very* intermittent series, where I play around with conventional outfits, such as suits and twinsets. (It's named after the imaginative children's book "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis.) Find my other {not a} suit here and my super-sparkly twinset here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

to talk and to listen

Tee, Gap
Cardigan, Gap Outlet
Coldwater Creek silk scarf, Valentine's Day gift from Mom
petite trouser jeans, Macy's
necklace, Haitian Beads
bracelets, HauteLook and DIY

      TALKING: We went on a field trip to the museum on Monday. I think the students really enjoyed it, and it enhanced their understanding of our social studies curriculum. Fourth grade focuses on Hawaiian society and culture, and I thought it was neat that they got to handle some artifacts that Hawaiians used for fishing and making tools. I've only been to the museum with a class, but I'd like to go back during the summer and browse through Hawaiian Hall at leisure.
      On the way back to school, I was listening to my students chatter away, and I realized how many of them believe that "I talk, therefore I am." That made me wonder: what activity do I believe defines me? I'd have to say reflection, or maybe even the study of aikido. It's an interesting question to ask yourself if you haven't before ...

      LISTENING: Speaking of reflection, having students reflect, self-assess, and give feedback to others has always been an interest of mine. It's a natural interest, I suppose, since whenever I take a multiple intelligences test, one of my dominant intelligences is intrapersonal. I went to a training last week, and the trainer suggested that we ask students to reflect on what the teacher did that they found useful, and what the teacher did that was not useful.
      With that in mind, I had my students respond in writing to that same question after a math lesson. I consider myself a novice when it comes to teaching math, unfortunately - while I've seen big improvements in what I'm doing this year compared to years past, I know I have a long way to go! My self-assessment was confirmed by what my students wrote. While some students are still working on using details in reflection and didn't get beyond "everything you did was helpful," I had others clearly state that they wished I had done more sample problems with the class before having them practice the skill on their own.
        It's tough to realize that your instruction was not as effective as it could have been, but I'm taking their feedback seriously and will make some changes as a result.

      Whew, longer post than usual ... I guess being drop-dead tired this week makes me introspective? Or verbose? And it doesn't help that I've got a weekend full of work ahead, since report cards are due next week.
   How would you complete the phrase "I ________, therefore I am"?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

march purchases: more bang for the buck

Three sleeveless silk tops: $16, Goodwill
Gap cotton skirt: $5, Goodwill

Total: $23
Budget: $50
Remaining total: $27
        I'm pleased that this month's purchases are both work-appropriate and cool. Working in a non-air-conditioned school has a huge impact on how I dress, and these items will be put to good use  for the remainder of the school year. 
        I thought I spent a lot this month, based on how many items I added to my closet. However, after reviewing my January and February posts, I realized that I ended this month with the most money left over. (Yay for stretching my hard-earned dollars by thrifting!)
        Aya asked a great question last month about how I budget the purchase of essentials, such as undergarments, socks, and exercise gear. I don't have a set monthly budget for such items, but am OK with spending $100 or so throughout a year. This month I replaced some items from this category with a $40.25 purchase at Nordstrom Rack. 

Linking up with Franish's Budgeting Bloggers! :) 

Friday, March 28, 2014

hail to March and a few iPhone outfit photos

 Top: Bobeau cardigan, Nordstrom Rack; top and necklace, Forever 21
Middle: Old Navy floral top, Savers; Banana Republic gray cardigan, from Mom;
 lucite necklace, eBay
Bottom: Pleione lobster print tee and Carole agate necklace, Nordstrom Rack clearance; 
Gap Factory yellow cardigan
       I guess you're getting old when you find yourself commenting often, "Wow, I can't believe it's already 2014/February/March/almost April!"  But here we go ... I can't believe it's almost April.
      But before we welcome April, let's talk about March, which is a big month for my husband and I! The 18th is what I call our "meet-a-versary" -- the anniversary of our first date. The funny thing is, we went to this Thai restaurant for dinner, and we haven't been able to eat there since! Whenever we're in the area and pop in, it's inevitably closed. If I was a bigger romantic, I'd imagine that it was open just for that one special night ...
     March 30th makes one year since we got married, too. Sometimes I'm surprised that it's already been a year, and other times I'm surprised that it's only been a year. (Does that make sense ...?)
      Outfit talk: I think the middle outfit is my favorite, because before I might have shied away from pairing the necklace with a ruffled top. I really like how the necklace picks up the different hues in the top. In regards to the bottom outfit, I'm not usually drawn to nautical  themes - I have no interest in anchor-emblazoned anything - but I found the lobsters strangely whimsical. I'm already looking forward to pairing this top with my navy polka-dot skirt! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Rebecca Taylor top, thrifted
Calvin Klein jeans, Ross
scarf, Old Navy
       Spring Break has been glorious so far. Admittedly, I had a hard time waking up for early-morning aikido yesterday - I bolted out of bed at 5:24 a.m. when I should have woken up a good ten or twenty minutes earlier. Later in the day, my sweet cousin dropped by with a delicious Greek lunch. I don't usually like fries - but fries liberally coated with garlic and accompanied by a feta dip? Let's just say I ate my share. And then I devoured my gyro, too.
      So, that kind of sums up my spring break so far. Lots of reading and eating, and a little creating - I made a few stretch bracelets with my long-neglected seed bead collection. One unexpected quirk in the plan was that my computer charger decided to stop working. As much as I enjoy having an iPhone, it's not great for  obsessively searching for MOAR pretty sparkly beads browsing the Internet. Also, there's all that fourth-quarter lesson planning that I could be doing, and the third-quarter grading that really needs doing, but will likely be ignored for a few more days ...  In short, I prevailed on my husband to search the island for a charger, and he found one.  I think he's a keeper. ; )

        This color combination is one of my recent favorites. I like the mix of light and dark purples with the deep green/teal.
        Obligatory outfit talk: check. Now let's talk about books ...
         Books I've read: I finished "Marbury Lens" by Andrew Smith, and it was one of the more disturbing books I've read. (I have to note that I'm a wimp and don't read horror, so this may be kid stuff to lovers of that genre). As a book lover, I've realized that while some books are excellent and well-done, they're not books I'd want to read again. I enjoyed them, but they're not necessarily worlds I want to revisit. This is an apt description of "Marbury Lens." At the same time, I had a hard time putting the book down. The moving-between-two-worlds narrative is rather addictive, kind of like how the main character Jack feels an irresistible compulsion to put on the glasses that transport him to the brutal world of Marbury. It turns out that there's a second book called "Passenger," and I'm mulling whether I want to read that. 
        Books I'm working on: "Beginner's Mind, Zen Mind" by Suzuki and "The Underneath" by Appelt.
         Books I hope to get to before spring break ends: the graphic novel "Relish: My Life in the Kitchen" by Knisley; "Lexicon" by Barry; and "Saving Shiloh" by Naylor. (I plan to use "Shiloh" with some of my students, and I just had to reread the trilogy.)     
         Have you read anything interesting lately?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

neon green animal print and a belt triumph

BeBop dress and Julie's Closet cardigan, Ross
belt, from dress

      SPRING BREAK IS COMING. SPRING BREAK IS COMING. SPRING BREAK IS COMING. (Insert excited squeal here - and if you met me in person, you'd realize I'm not even the squealy type). Yeah, don't tell my students, but I think I'm much more excited than they are about the prospect of one glorious week away from school! Well, I'm equal parts excited and equal parts tired.  Based on experience, the exhaustion will hit about noon Saturday and I'll spend a good part of the day napping.
     I didn't realize it at the time, but this outfit is an inadvertent walking advertisement for Ross. It may also be a fashion don't - when you're 36, is it a bad idea to wear two items from the juniors department together? Admittedly, this dress is a bit on the short side for work -- I feel more comfortable when my hemline is closer to my knee vs. mid-thigh -- but I put my trusty bike shorts underneath.
     I've always liked this cardigan but been unsure how to style it, and this is my favorite way to wear it so far. I've struggled with figuring out how to wear a belt over a cardigan without looking stumpy and thick-waisted, but on a whim I tried it while taking pictures and I rather like the look.

    How would you style this cardigan? I'd love to wear it more often!

Monday, March 3, 2014

busy bee, creaky knees

 Cable & Gauge cardigan and same ol' jeans, Ross
top, H&M (2009)

         This cardigan has been hanging in my closet for months, but it's been getting quite a bit of wear lately. I like its tonal embellishments. 
       February seemed to speed by in the blink of an eye! But I can't complain too much since that means spring break is even closer. ;) 
       While February was a short month, it was also a busy one. The previous weekend was devoted to an aikido seminar, which meant waking up early to lug heavy mats around the gym. I felt like I had gotten a workout even before classes started! On Monday I woke up feeling like someone had stolen my perfectly good knees and replaced them with that of an old lady. This Saturday was also busy as I attended a librarian conference. At first I was tempted to skip the conference and sleep in instead, but I'm glad I went. The presentation was useful and it was a good opportunity to network and let people know that I'm still looking for my dream job.

     What's been keeping you busy lately?